Drug testing is on the increase but effectiveness is inconclusive

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article An independent inquiry in to drug testing at work has predicted the numberof employers testing staff will increase, but warned that evidence of itseffectiveness is inconclusive. The inquiry found that evidence of a link between drug use and accidents atwork, absenteeism, low productivity and poor performance was inconclusive, withemployers reporting very few positive tests. After an 18-month investigation the inquiry panel said other factors such asbad working conditions, a lack of sleep, health problems, work-related stressand excessive workloads had a much greater impact on safety and poorperformance. Employees working under the influence of drugs or alcohol were cited as anobvious risk but the report warned that testing was not an effective measure ofon-the-job intoxication and could only reveal previous offences. The evidence suggests that alcohol poses a far greater risk in the workplacethan illicit drug use, but the report claimed that testing did not act as asignificant deterrent. The inquiry recommends that employers should use drug and alcohol testingonly in safety-critical jobs or where they believe staff are involved inillegal activities at work, intoxicated in the workplace or where performanceslips below an acceptable threshold. The findings, which were facilitated by Drugscope and the Joseph RowntreeTrust, also paint a confused legal situation in the area of testing. It pointsout that there is no direct legislation, with all legal decisions based on theinterpretation of human rights and data protection rules. Ben Willmott, employee relations advisor at the Chartered Institute ofPersonnel and Development, said employers should think carefully before introducingtesting. “This is a legal grey area that needs clarifying. Our researchshows staff subjected to monitoring are less likely to have high levels ofmotivation and likely to suffer from stress.” www.drugscope.org.uk Drug testing is on the increase but effectiveness is inconclusiveOn 1 Jul 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more